Miami is trying to grow up. And up and up. But as a new wave of high-rise development begins to gain momentum, will it get the chance to crest?
These days, Brickell City Centre receives much of the attention. And rightfully so. The $1.05 billion mixed-use development under construction is earmarked for more than 5 million square feet of office, residential, hotel, retail and entertainment space. Yet, as the inventory shrinks in Miami, the list of high-rise projects being proposed by developers continues to expand.
Just to name a few, there’s the 64-story glass skyscraper Brickell Flatiron, now in final planning stages with roughly 40 percent of units under contract. Construction is scheduled to start by year end on the project, which is slated to have 548 condos with wide, curving terraces, and 35,000 square feet of ground-floor restaurant and retail space.
The $4 billion SoLē Mia project in North Miami finally looks to have life. Once known as Biscayne Landing, it has stalled for decades. Now developers are working to transform 183 acres into a community with residential towers, upscale retail and commercial space. Among the components: 4,390 high-rise residences in at least 10 towers and a 150-room hotel.
One Bayfront Plaza is currently approved for 1,010 feet. The 80-story, wedge-shaped tower will contain an 800-room hotel, 130,000 square feet of exhibition space, offices and 640 condos. The project could be completed by Q1 2018.
There’s a caveat to all the growth, even as preleasing occurs and infrastructures are in the works. While developers are busy doing what they do — dream big — the Federal Aviation Administration has its own related task — keeping building heights in check. The FAA wants some heights in South Florida cut in half. The FAA isn’t necessarily picking on Miami. Last year, it unveiled potential policy changes to limit the height of buildings near 388 airports across the nation.
The FAA’s rulemaking process could drag on for some time, perhaps years — and the fallout in South Florida bears watching. Miami public officials say they’re unsure about the effects of the FAA proposal on development. But they did receive good news when in June the FAA did approve the height of Brickell City Centre, which is now set to become one of the tallest buildings in the country. After studying the proposal for 20 months, the agency decided that it wouldn’t pose a threat to air traffic.
A bit of history for added perspective: Miami’s high-rise buildings truly began with the 1925 completion of the 255-foot Freedom Tower. From the mid-1990s through the late 2000s, Miami experienced the largest building boom in the city’s history. As a result, only two of the city’s 25 tallest buildings were completed before the year 2000, and the city has one of largest skylines in the United States. The boom, of course, ended in 2008 when the real estate market crashed. Notably, that same year Freedom Tower was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
Now, developers are intent on making more history in South Florida. What’s up in Miami? Good question.